Originally Posted by DerComissar
Good choice if you go with Bitspower fittings, they are so much better quality. I had an Alphacool 90 degree fitting leak at the swivel when I was doing my first leak test. I replaced it, and three others, with Bitspower fittings. The Alphacool fittings were very loose at the swivel joint. It's frustrating when you try to save some money on parts, only to find out they are crap.
I can understand the wait for funds though, Bitspower fittings are expensive. Imo the black finish will look great with your copper tubing.
Huh, that's not a very good batting average I'd say. I haven't had any problems with my Alphacool fittings
I ordered for testing purposes, but I have noticed that they're rather loose as well.
Anyway:Colour-Coordinating the RAM Blocks
We all know copper is goodness. But, like so many treasures on this planet, it should not occur
in overabundance so as to keep its specialness. While I do really like the Alphacool RAM blocks,
I was never perfectly happy with either version available. The POM top is just too much black
with not enough copper, while the plexi top puts so much copper on show that it renders it less
effective in the overall effect IMO.
So, over the past ten days or so, I've been working on fixing that. I forgot to buy normal primer,
so I just did three coats of etch primer. Not exactly by the book, but such is life. If this
had been a really prominend piece with a large surface area I would have gone out and bought
some normal primer, but for such a small piece this was adequate.
After that, I gave it five coats of black, sanding it down with various grits between 1200 and
5000 after each coat, depending on how bumpy the most recent surface was (it's been rather rainy
and cold here, not at all optimal conditions for painting, and I can't do it in the apartment
because we have clients coming by here, so it can't smell like paint :lol: ). Anyway, eventually
I got a nice and smooth black surface, to which I then added two layers of clear coat, sanding
and polishing them down as well. Unfortunately, one of the pieces slipped off the table today
and got its paint job banged up, so I need to redo the last stages on that. Hence, only one
piece in the last few shots.
Anyway, this is what the RAM blocks look stock, and with black screws I swapped out to reduce
the amount of copper:(click image for full res)
Masking the blocks:(click image for full res)
And in black, without the clear coat yet:(click image for full res)
Right after taking off the masking tape, you can see the edges are still very raw:(click image for full res)
Interestingly, the plexi tops are polished on the sides and the top side, but not the side
which comes into contact with the water, giving it a slightly milky appearance. Can't have
that of course. Left is the polished block (5000 grit paper, wet, then 10 000 polishing compound
and my trusty random orbital sander with a felt pad).(click image for full res)
The cold plate, clear coated and polished:(click image for full res)
And from another angle...(click image for full res)
And assembled:(click image for full res)(click image for full res)
The finish is not absolutely perfect. Part of that is simply due to the geometry of the
cold plate, which won't really allow proper sanding without taking off too much paint in
some parts, so no matter how many coats you apply, you're always going to take off just a
little too much at some corner or edge if you want it to be perfect everywhere else, meaning
you need to apply another coat and so on. If it were a huge flat panel it would probably
have been simpler in that regard.
Other reasons for imperfections are the rather cold and damp weather we've been having here,
which has just not really allowed the paint to flow ideally. Unfortunately, my dad has part
of his business at home, so there are clients coming by from time to time, which means I can't
paint in the comparably warm and dry apartment.
And lastly, of course, is simply my inexperience. I have done a bit of painting before, but
this was my first attempt at a proper flat gloss job. The bracket for the GPU block was a bit
of a different beast since I wanted to get that powder coat-like finish, which didn't require
as much sanding and polishing, obviously (but still took be a bit to get right, the droplets
had a tendency to be of very varying sizes, which was of no use of course).
But overall I'm still very happy with it considering it's the first time I've done something
like this. The imperfections are there, but you can't really see them unless there's really
good lighing coming in just from the right angle. I'm definitely looking forward to doing
some more of this in the future and honing my skills (yes, yes, I'm aware I could just give
it to a body shop or something like that, but where would the fun in that be).